Overall: The debate put us in the surreal position of watching seven white candidates grapple, collide, and dance around the issue of race. While the Democratic victor is guaranteed to be white, the losers of this debate were undeniably people of color.
It was amusing at best, and maddening at worst, to see white men like Biden, Buttigieg, and Bloomberg vying to raise their hands and point fingers at one another about past policies that harmed people of color. Tom Steyer, in one of his few relevant utterances of the night, announced that everything operated under the “giant subtext of race,” and he was right.
I liked: Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar were refreshingly cogent debaters. Perhaps both women were at an inherent disadvantage in a debate that required candidates to yell, interrupt, and take up space — despite their convincing performances, the women senators struggled to make anything stick.
The candidates I was least impressed by: Nobody seemed to break through the white noise or offer anything new. Bernie Sanders, perhaps comfortable in his frontrunner status, made characteristically little effort to appeal to new voters outside of his usual discourse. Meanwhile, Buttigieg, Biden, and Bloomberg felt like progressively more out-of-touch versions of one another, like a series of those Snapchat filters that show you how you’ll age.